Hawaii Group A continue their adventures with Big Island Farms...
"Our first day at Big Island farms started with an early morning wakeup. For many of us, it was the first time sleeping in cabins in a sleeping bag. We began our first full day at the farm with a briefing on permaculture farming from one of the interns Hailey. She explained that permaculture farming revolves around the idea of working with nature instead of against it. She introduced the idea of a closed circle loop, which is when one plant dies, it does not go to waste, but instead spurs further life and growth for the other plants around it. We spent the afternoon learning a new lei-making technique. We also learned about the word Aloha in more depth, as it is not just a word meaning hello and goodbye, but a word that encapsulates the Hawaiian values of respect. In the afternoon, we took our first showers at the farm where we found very little hot water, which worked in favor of water conservation, but not in favor of the most relaxing experience.
Today was the last day of September, which is very strange because we are all from colder areas. Anu, the owner of the farm, led us to her favorite beach on the island. Before going down to the beach, we made sure to offer lei to the gods to thank them for the beach and the nature around us. We enjoyed the beautiful clear water and even saw a sea turtle. We also learned about the strength of the Hawaiian sun and the need for sunscreen, as most members of our crew got very sunburnt. After a full day of sandy fun, we returned home for another vegetarian meal and more rounds of Solitaire, Durock, and spit, some of the group’s favorite card games.
It was the first day of October, but it did not feel like it, as it was pouring rain non-stop all day. In the morning we had medicinal plant workshops from both Uncle Ikaika and Anu, where we made coral reef safe sunscreen and a medicinal salve. We also watched a presentation by John, one of the BIF interns, about marine biology and the importance of the coral reefs. In the afternoon, we escaped the rain and traveled to the sunny side of the island. We played in the waves and watched the sunset over the horizon, the beautiful colors of the sunset lighting up the sky. We got back to the farm a little bit later than normal and enjoyed a nice vegetarian meal of breakfast for dinner with pancakes, eggs, and more!
On the second of October, our group was with John, where we did manual labor, clearing out cane grass from a big plot of land. It was HOT. We worked all morning, the sun beating down with no breeze to cool us off. By the end of the first hour, we were all drenched in sweat from head to toe. After lunch, we chilled for a couple of hours before going with John to a field 20 minutes away where the boys played an intense game of 3v3 soccer. After 2 and half hours, many injuries especially from Ryan, and a lot of fun, we returned to the farm ready for bed.
The next morning we adventured to Waipio Valley, which holds great cultural importance as well as awesome hiking and a black sand beach. On our hike through the valley we encountered wild horses and massive waves at the black sand beach. We got to spend the day playing in the massive waves, jumping into waterfalls and lounging on the beach. The following day, we took it a little easier, visiting a local farmers market in Honokaa. Many of the group members were relieved to finally eat meat after a week of eating vegetarian. There were great vibes at the farmers market; there were numerous food stands, and a local musician-playing guitar. After the farmers market we visited the Hawaiian cultural center, and had one of our most powerful interactions with a Hawaiian Native. Lanakila, who lives at the cultural center, shared lots of information about Hawaiian history and perspectives. He also chanted about two minutes of a 7-hour Hawaiian chant.
On Monday we left Big Island Farms and drove to the sunny west coast to Kona, where we will be for a week! Over the next couple of days we participated in our very much anticipated surf camp. For three days straight we were at the beach at 9am to surf for two hours. The instructors were very impressed at how quickly our group was able to learn. By the end of the first day every one of us had been able to ride at least one or two big waves. One thing you might not know about surfing is that your arms will become exhausted and your ribs will be sore. Tired and determined, we looked like professional surfers by the last day. It got so easy that people were high fiving while riding waves, and even tried pushing each other off. The surf camp has definitely been a highlight for the group so far!"
By Gigi & Jack